Feeds

Shifty study proclaims Brits a nation of freetards

Seven million downloading illegal content shocker

Top three mobile application threats

An estimated seven million Brits are involved in illegal downloads of music, movies, software or games. This digital piracy is resulting in "huge economic losses" and confusion about copyright law, according to a study by UK government advisers published on Friday.

The 85-page study, commissioned by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP), and entitled Copycats? Digital Consumers in the on-line Age (pdf), warns that shifting attitudes may be an uphill struggle. Researchers from the UCL’s Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) found that on one peer-to-peer network at midday on a particular weekday, there were 1.3 million users sharing content.

From this observation the researchers make some dizzying statistical assumptions to draw up a guesstimate of overall piracy losses, which they claim run into the billions:

If each “peer” from this network (not the largest) downloaded one file per day the resulting number of downloads (music, film, television, e-books, software and games were all available) would be 4.73 billion items per year. This amounts to around £120 billion in content being consumed annually - for free.

Students of BSA piracy loss figures will note that a similar technique of equating every item downloaded as a lost sale features in UCL's statistical methodology. The UCL team also reviewed the available literature and spoke to entertainment industry representatives and regulators in researching its report, which it stresses is only preliminary.

The study makes little mention of the need to establish wider availability of commercial movie downloads, for example, instead preferring to concentrate on the sociology of file-sharing and the possibility that further studies might look into ideas for public awareness campaigns. Hollywood studios, meanwhile, have recently focused on keeping cinema attendances up via the promotion of 3D films.

Findings from the SABIP study are likely to be used in the formation of government policy, in areas such as putting pressure on ISPs to withdraw service to persistent illegal file-sharers. ISPs are reluctant to police the web.

David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property, said, "The report helps put the scale of the problem into context and highlights the gaps in the evidence which need to be filled. It is important that we understand how online consumer behaviour impacts on the UK economy and the future sustainability of our copyright industries.

"Illegal downloading is not an issue confined by national boundaries. I am sure other EU States and their copyright industries will find this report of use in the development of policy." ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.